Coordinating disaster repairs for one of the biggest road networks in the State is a mammoth job but MidCoast Council’s engineering and roads teams have been working through it efficiently.
With more than 100 landslides across the region, clearing and stabilising mountain roads is a major part of the flood recovery process, while damaged pavement is keeping Council’s patching crews busier than ever.
“Working through damage of this scale is a multi-faceted process,” explained Rob Scott, MidCoast Council’s Director of Infrastructure and Engineering.
“While our patching work is highly visible, coordinating the major work that needs to be done across our mountain roads can take months.
“We had more than 40 landslips on one road – that’s what we’re dealing with – so once we were able to get past one slip, we were cut off by another, and that means we were simply trying to clear a path through before we could even assess the damage and safety issues.”
Specialist machinery is required, as well as qualified contractors, to complete the major repair work, but these teams and equipment are in demand across the State which can cause further delays.
Rob said his teams understand the community’s frustrations with the time it’s taking for some roads to reopen or what appears to be limited repair work, but the breadth of the damage is much bigger than what was expected and work is prioritised according to safety, the number of people traveling on the roads, funding and manpower to do the repairs.
“Our number one priority when tackling the recovery of our roads, is safety,” explained Rob.
“That’s why we will patch first, where possible, as a temporary measure to ensure the road is safe to travel on, and until we can get in and do a full reconstruction or more thorough repair.
“The hardest part to understand though, is that our roads program now has to change to accommodate the urgent work on our roads that remain closed since the floods, we need to get our network fully reopen and this will mean rescheduling some works in favour of others.”
To keep the community up to date with the road flood recovery operations, Council has a ‘Roads Focus – Flood Recovery’ page on the website that has weekly updates of where the maintenance crews are and a long term flood damaged roads log that shows the progress of the worst hit roads, as well as a place to report damaged roads that need attention.
“We really appreciate the patience, understanding and encouragement we’ve received throughout this difficult time and we’ve got a long way to go,” added Rob.
To view the roads focus page and find out more about works underway, or to report a road that needs work, head to https://www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/Roads/Roads-focus-Flood-recovery